March 1, 2011 | by Lars Aronsson
That Android doesn’t support screen shot apps might have come as a surprise to some people when they first started using Google’s OS, since other smartphone platforms feature such utilities. Android users with root access have enjoyed the option to take screen grabs with applications such as the excellent ShootMe, but so far we haven’t been able to capture screens directly from an Android without rooting it first.
However, users of Android have always been able to capture its UI with a PC and the SDK. By enabling USB debugging from Settings > Applications > Development, installing the Android SDK, connecting your Android device to a computer, and then launching ddms.bat from the android-sdk/tools folder, you can quite conveniently capture your phone’s user-interface in action. And some custom ROMs, such as MIUI, let you take screen shots just by pressing a hardware key combination.
But many people understandably find installing the SDK bothersome, and not all Android users are interested in rooting their devices. Luckily, the latest version of Android (2.3.3) lets us take screen shots even without root access. Last night, I happened to notice a conversation on Twitter between Cyanogen and phone guru Paul O’Brian, creator of the MoDaCo forum:
No specifics were mentioned, and it will likely take a while before we start seeing apps that take advantage of this new functionality – but still, excellent news. Now let’s just hope that Android 2.3.3 will come to current devices sooner rather than later.